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Basal Body Temperature for Natural Family Method

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Basal body temperature method is one of the natural family planning techniques wherein a special thermometer called the basal body thermometer (BBT) is used to record the temperature variation during ovulation and to avoid sexual activity during this fertility period.

How does it work?

The BBT method relies on the body temperature of a woman after she gets up from the bed; and the temperature slightly rises (by 0.4 and 0.8 degrees) during her ovulation period, which forms the indicator for family planning. Body temperature rises due to elevation of the hormone progesterone during ovulation period and it remains within this range till 3-4 days before onset of next menstrual cycle.

The Abstinence Period:

The thermometer is highly sensitive and can measure even the smallest variation in temperature, thus when she observes her body temperature to be a bit high, then it’s advised to refrain from unprotected sex.

Getting Pregnant:

The other way round, if couples are looking forward to have a baby, then they can have sex during this highly fertile period of women. The body temperature will remain elevated as long as the woman is ovulating, which is 5-6 days. If she gets pregnant, then her basal body temperature will remain high throughout pregnancy. Thus, the BBT method can also be used to detect pregnancy.

How to Monitor the BBT Correctly

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All women need to get familiar with their reproductive cycle first in order to use the BBT method. Consider the following points before you start using the thermometer.

  • Remember the date of your menstrual cycles and note it down in a calendar.
  • Check the temperature with the special thermometer immediately after rising from bed. This should be the first thing to do in the morning.
  • Take the temperature everyday in the same time and from the same place. We suggest you to place the thermometer under the arm to get accurate results.
  • Stabilize your daily activities during your fertile period because alteration in sleeping hours, smoking, drinking, stress, and food habits cause fluctuation in BBT. Therefore, avoid all these for at least a week and make sure you have 8-9 hours of sleep before noting the temperature.  

Pros of BBT

  • There’s lot of personal freedom in using the BBT method. It helps couples to mutually discuss and then co-operate for family planning
  • One can avoid going to the doctor regularly and save cost of appointment fees.  
  • Secondly no surgical methods or invasion techniques or pills are involved and hence no side effects.
  • Women get more familiar with their reproductive cycles and changes taking place inside their body.

Cons of BBT

  • The reliability of the method is still a question when women have irregular menstrual cycles or are under some kind of medication.
  • External factors like stress, sleep disorders, etc. can affect the accuracy of readings.
  • Thirdly, it doesn’t make a woman 100% safe from STDs. Therefore, if a couple is planning to conceive, then they must get a medical check up done before encountering unprotected sex.

However, one needs to practise BBT method diligently to get full proof results. For this purpose one can combine BBT method with the calendar method. All in all, we can say that if couples are looking forward to opt for natural method of family planning, then they can resort to BBT.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 02, 2015